I've been a self-confessed Chetan Bhagat loather all this while. Nothing against him or what he writes or how he writes it - I choose to not like him just because so many people like him. What to do? I am like that only. Ever since his 5 Point Someone days, his popularity pisses me off. I have a thing against everybody like everything and live happily ever after. So buying his books and reading them has been out of the question. But when my bhai-bhabhi thought my shelf needed a Chetan Bhagat (for a lack of my judgement or theirs) and gifted me his latest novel, I decided to give 2 States: A story of my marriage a chance. And anyways, since my marriage is stalemating, courtesy Jishnu and Mumbai, I thought I might as well read about other peoples' marriages and amuse myself.
I'm not sure what his previous books are like, but 2 States is a fairly readable book. More than the story, what is to be savoured is his style of writing. It is refreshingly casual and may well have been snatches from our everyday conversations. His similes are rib-tickling, his insights fair and his characters real. His observations of prejudices are very good, perhaps because he has been subject to them.
Five days with Bhagat and I have to admit that I liked it while it lasted. You have to hand it to the guy for writing about life nice and easy with a good measure of humour thrown in. He really is someone who'd make for a good conversation starter with a random stranger or people you can't otherwise have meaningful conversations with. Bhagat's work is appealing in a way weather conversations are. They're safe and they're for everybody despite him being quite honest about the way the young operate. Anyway, uncles in their 40s and 50s are likely to not have read him.
He may not make it to the annals of great literature, but Bhagat makes for a good companion of chai, coffee or cola.